Isaac Newton famously said “What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an Ocean”. Now let’s think if the quote “What we have destroyed is a drop and what we are destroying is an ocean” also holds true.
Science is fascinating. It has been an inseparable part of everyone’s life knowingly or unknowingly. It was in our early school days science taught us how the nature is. We were taught that nature consists of plants, animals, air, soil, water etc. As we grew up we explored and found out we live in a solar system in a galaxy in a universe, air is made up of Nitrogen, Oxygen, Carbon-di-Oxide etc. As we grew up a bit more older we were taught that earth is warming up, climate is changing and it’s not a good sign. Also at the same time we were taught how man evolved from using raw meat and food grains to preparing the tastiest of foods and cold storing them for years together.
The generation of people just before us might have never heard of terms like Global Warming and Climate Change. We have heard and learnt about it. Our next generation will probably researching on green house gases and CFCs on a war footing basis. We don’t know what more dangerous terms we are digging up for the next generation to learn and explore.
The journey of mankind from the Stone Age to today’s age has been a journey revolving around two words, “Curiosity” and “Inventions”. There is nothing on the earth and in the universe that we can leave unknown and we continue to get to know something new every passing day. Let’s call this process of “getting to know something new” as discovery. Every discovery is brought out of a scientist’s curiosity, his hunger to know more and more. Today we have discovered the shape, size, composition and colour of things like stars which are light years away from us and of air which exists at a distance as small as something even smaller.
We know how something of the size of a galaxy behaves and also how an electron in an atom behaves. We know how blue whales live and we also know how a virus lives. These discoveries haven’t come to us free of cost. Scientists have put in large efforts and importantly have used a lot of equipments. A telescope was used to gauge the star and a microscope was used to study the virus. How are these telescopes and microscopes made? If made of wood, we have cut down trees and if made of steel we have dug up the earth for the ore. Let’s just keep aside the industries that manufacture them for a while.
Now let’s talk inventions. Let’s take the pen and paper used for writing this or the computer used for typing it down or the internet used for uploading it to the web or the mobile device used for reading or any other thing we see around us. It is an invention. Invention can be thought of as an outcome of discovery. The microscope would never be invented if the behaviour of light was not discovered or probably if someone never wanted to see something far away. A famous quote goes “Necessity is the mother of all Inventions”. Is it? To some extent, yes. When inventions began in the early ages, they were born out of some need. Let’s say a match stick. It was a need for replacing the conventional use of stones to light fire and the task was made easier. But as the scope of inventions expanded, inventions for satisfying human wants and greed started. Why would we want something like an automatically opening door if we can do it by ourselves? But the fast moving world, industrialisation and commercialisation has probably encouraged such inventions and continues to do so. So now we can say “Anything can be the mother of Inventions”.
But simply anything can not be the mother of inventions. If we start making sense of this “Anything” we can come across the word “Innovation”. Innovation is doing something entirely new, unique, something which has been never done or thought of before and might have the potential to change how things have been working conventionally.
All this said, what about the environment? Every discovery we have made or we are making is in some way coming to us at the cost of nature. We wouldn’t have discovered how the Martian surface looks without sending satellites and rovers which over a period of time will end up being space debris. The invention of engine added to pollution and global warming. Inventions born out of human greed and wants have been taking us closer to harming of nature and environment step by step. Now, Innovations like solar energy are probably helping us protect the environment but not fully. It talks of extracting the suns energy and moreover requires an entire industry to manufacture the equipments. Today’s innovators talk of using a technology to convert sea water to drinking water, you ask why? To overcome the shortage of drinking water. Why can’t we just keep aside that innovation and start judicious use of water or even find innovative methods for minimal wastage of water? Instead of putting up our innovation quotient on developing an inverter AC why can’t we learn and cope up with a few more degrees of temperature. Instead of UV protection sunglasses why can’t we work towards restoring the ozone layer? Instead of cloud seeding and flood resistant cities why can’t we try and restore the water cycle?
The one line answer to the most environment issues we are facing today is simple. Using all our innovative capacities to try and restore the natural phenomenon that occur instead of trying to interfere or manipulate them in order to relieve ourselves from the mess that we have made up for ourselves. Sea water was never meant for drinking. Let’s not try it. Ozone was meant for protecting the earth from UV rays. Let’s ensure that it happens.
Isaac Newton famously said “What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an Ocean”. Now let’s think if the quote “What we have destroyed is a drop and what we are destroying is an ocean” also holds true. Let’s ask this again and again “What about the Environment?”